We’re just about halfway through an odd year where work, time, life, and most norms have been upended a few times.
Through experimental living, trying to locate some semblance of a new routine, a new life is both exciting and daunting, and seems to be what many of us are going through—a series of layered transitions that are propelled by a sort of isolated hope.
So much is in our heads, so oftentimes, things don’t pan out as we had imagined. But what if we looked at these “failures” as redirections? And opportunities to change what isn’t working?
To begin anew, to begin again, is the bravest thing we can do for ourselves, and it’s the only way out of staying stuck.
Sometimes, beginning again after a prolonged period of plateau, or inaction, seems like the be-all and end-all effort—but it isn’t. There isn’t just one chance to get going again or get it right. That would be an incredible amount of unreasonable pressure that we are placing on this one moment. Like expecting a single lottery ticket to hit the jackpot. Yet, we do it all the time. So, let’s shed the preciousness of new beginnings because it really is a numbers game.
James Clear’s Atomic Habits is a book well worth your time if you’re invested in breaking old habits and building new ones. His work is based on practical tips and psychology and focuses on system building instead of goal setting. As someone who’s experimented with coaching of many kinds, Atomic Habits’ brilliance lies in its point of view and point of entry into a rather painful blind spot because it focuses on the structures in which we are building our life.
“Invisible structures bleed our power”—this quote appears on the first page of my production journal because it is so often not our dreams or goals that are the issue, but the systems and structures that we operate in—precisely the places we are not looking at, when we are sunken and defeated.
We take failures so tremendously personally and think it’s about us, without doing a proper post-mortem to see what went wrong where. How many beautiful dreams get killed this way? If the past years have taught me anything, it’s that life is too short to be giving up for the wrong reasons.
So let’s begin again, more often, and let’s lean into nature—because life cycles, and they are never deterred by failure. However bad the weather, however tormented a season, growth continues to happen, the sun continues to rise. Life carries on.
And because it really is a numbers game, here’s a concrete list of new beginnings that give us at least 111 fresh starts every year:
>> The first day of each month (12 chances each year)
>> Mondays (typically 52 each year)
>> The first day of spring
>> The first day of summer
>> The first day of fall
>> The first day of winter
>> Summer Solstice
>> Winter Solstice
>> New Moons (12-13 each year)
>> Full Moons (12-13 each year)
>> The beginning of your Astrological season
>> The days of important religious holidays—for example, Easter, Eid al-Fitr
>> New Year’s: January 1st, Lunar New Year, Nyepi (Balinese New Year), Nawruz, Ugaadhi, Sinhalese New Year, Diwali, Rosh Hashanah, Islamic New Year (every culture and religion marks New Year’s differently, all are new beginnings)
>> The first day in a new place after a move
>> The first day of a new contract
>> The first day of school
>> The first day at a new job
>> The day you do something drastic with your look
>> The day you change your diet
>> The day you give up something toxic
>> Anniversary dates
>> The day you became a citizen of a new country
>> The day you became a parent
>> The day you decide to break the patterns that no longer serve you
>> The day you finish reading this list
Naturally, people who mesh cultures and have a tendency to move around will have more chances of starting anew, but even for the singularly cultured homebody, there are 111 chances each year to start fresh—that’s almost one in three days, which makes starting fresh…not such a precious thing anymore.
Somehow, our culture has conditioned us to put starting fresh high on a pedestal, and when we fall, the chances of us starting up again gets reduced because of disappointment, pain, and not wanting to experience the humiliation again.
We let chances slide by and we cripple ourselves with the invisible structures—so let today be the day we say, no more, and catch all the new beginnings that await us.